We are all suckers when it comes to new social media platforms - and even this pale, stale male is not immune:
By George Hulbert
So Vero is the new big thing, the all-new not-so-new instant hit social media platform. Wow! So exciting: a new toy! Yay! Oooh…
Self-billed as ‘True social’ and billed by others as a possible ‘Instagram killer’ at a time when another mega platform had a shocker of a week (news broke - oddly via Twitter - that Snapchat’s queen, Kylie Jenner, had gone off it, which has been linked to a savage drop in its share price) the excitement surrounding Vero is based on a number of intriguing new factors.
So, what’s the deal?
First up, Vero is setting out to try to be a new kind of social network: one that lets you share content with specific sets of friends, doesn't allow ads, and delivers posts in a chronological feed instead of one controlled by an algorithm.
And better, the Vero manifesto says: “A false sense of connection left us lonelier than ever. We created a social network that lets you be yourself. Hence the name Vero. Meaning truth.”
Nice. And it’s free - for now. FOMO is a powerful thing, and I am not immune. But, ultimately, free-ness is not all that much of a differentiator really, is it.
But the thing that got me locked into the Vero tractor beam, and quite possibly the thing that has taken it to number 1 in the App store, was the single line that popped up during the download. ‘Behave online as you do offline’, it said.
I particularly liked that: and then the way that when you sign up you have to give your full name (no obscure @username to hide behind), your email address and your phone number. Of course, you can make all of these things up, but from the start Vero is asking us to be more upfront.
That felt good. So I became one of the first million mainly male - and millennial, except for me - users who will have access to the platform - forever for free.
And my first impressions are that it’s certainly beautiful to look at: an elegant place to be - a fresh approach to social. I can have up to three Avatars (currently me – I’m not a millennial), my Connections can be privately rated (Close friend, Friend or Acquaintance), which feels a bit weird, but is oddly satisfying, although I’ve yet to fully explore the connections side of it, although I have made the basic friends intros on offer.
And then there are the stories and links in the Search function, which take you off in nicely random directions that you wouldn’t normally experience on, say, Facebook. Further, there are great artists featured, and some lovely content like Letters Live, read out by famous actors.
Got your interest yet?
Amazingly, it even has a video tutorials area in my dashboard, to help me do the basics: aah, nirvana. After years of having to guess (and fail) as to what variously made up icons mean, this is a happy and informed Gen X. Thank you.
Vero has said that it won’t allow advertising on the feed. We’ll see about that. But in the meantime, great stories, great images, hashtags and content, send it all in my direction!
But will it kill Instagram?
I very much doubt it. Fewer than a million users Vero versus what is it: 800 million on Instagram? We’ll see how it goes. And then there’s the small matter of Vero’s mixed 2.5-star rating on the app store, and there have been many reports about slow downloads, glitches and crashes, plus stories of dodgy owners and staff.
So, it definitely has work to do… but despite that it’s a nice place to be, a breath of fresh social air.
Worth a look.
And check out this article in TIME magazine: Vero Is Taking On Instagram By Fixing the One Thing Everyone Hates About Instagram http://time.com/5178976/vero-app-ceo/
By George Hulbert (my name and my Vero handle)